Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a first-time author. I used to be a reporter for a small-town weekly newspaper. More recently, I spent about three and a half years writing book reviews and other content for a website called Examiner. Online content writing was good practice because it forced me to write and edit a lot of copy while I tried to earn enough to cover my credit card bills each month. It was also cool because it helped me connect with some really cool authors who helped me in various ways ranging from hooking me up with free advance review copies, to helping me earn a little extra money, to showing me how to format the paperback edition of my book.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is called Crosses and Runes. It is kind of a science fiction/fantasy mash up in the tradition of Roger Zelazny and Charles Stross. The inspiration for my book was actually an episode of a Spike TV series called Deadliest Warrior. Their vampire vs. zombies Halloween special made me really angry, so I wrote the original version of the first chapter. I have read more than my fair share of urban fantasy novels, so it really annoyed me that the vampires were unarmed. They easily could have had Glock handguns and katanas like every cliched monster hunter/detective I read about around the time the episode aired. So, I started with vampires who had guns. Then I thought it would be more fun if the good guys were elves. That got me thinking about what elves who use current technology (such as submachine guns and cell phones) might be like. Along the way, Charles Stross made a big impression on me with his Laundry Files novels, so I kind of wanted to do an American version of his stories where British spies have to deal with Lovecraftian horrors and stuff. Then I had a big heist sequence I wanted to do, but Jim Butcher wrote a book that was a lot like my original plan (and obviously much better than mine would have been) and that forced me to come up with something else.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wrote a lot of my book while watching reruns of Leverage on cable. That series had great characters, great dialogue, and some great crime fiction plots. My book is nothing like the show, but for some reason watching my favorite episodes for the eighteenth time got me in the right head space to think of new ways to kill vampires.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
As I mentioned already, I am heavily influenced by Roger Zelazny, Charles Stross, and Jim Butcher. Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber probably explains all the mythological references. Stross definitely inspired the spy gadgets. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles influenced my first-person narration. Michael Moorcock, Poul Anderson, Charles de Lint, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Martha Wells are just a few of my other influences.
What are you working on now?
I’m about 36,000 into the second book in my series. I also have a novella I need to finish some day.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Hopefully, it will be Awesomegang. I promote a lot on Twitter and a couple of sites are tweeting about my book for me, but so far that hasn’t made me able to quit my day job. Twitter is great for connecting with other authors and letting people know you’re doing a giveaway. It isn’t so wonderful if you want your new friends to actually pay for the book. I have sold a few copies of my book by basically begging people I know to buy it while killing time at work. My new blog gets a surprising amount of traffic considering that I don’t update it enough. I can’t tell if it helps with sales, but it’s kind of neat to know people from Slovakia are reading my posts for some reason.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Finish a draft. I wasted years of my life never finishing anything because I would read a book that was kind of like my premise, or I got behind on my college homework, or fear of failure would sap my confidence, or I would realize I didn’t know enough about medieval knights or whatever. The people who said you just need to keep going are right. Eventually, you’ll finish something really cool and you’ll learn a lot in the process.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
What are you reading now?
I was reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods again, but I need to get back to it.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Finishing my sequel.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester, and Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente.